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TVETipedia Glossary

Find and compare definitions of key terms in TVET


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Competency-based education (CBE)

Competency-based education (CBE) is built on the philosophy that "almost all learners can learn equally well if they receive the kind of instructors they need".... Although technical vocational education has always been concerned with the practical demonstration of the skill, CBE places a new and systematic emphasis on this principle. In this approach, the systematic development and delivery of the training is guided by five essential elements:

(i) The tasks to be taught are identified by the experts in the occupation.

(ii) The programme allows each learner to have the opportunity to develop and to be evaluated on the competencies achieved

(iii) Assessment of competency is not only based on knowledge and attitude but primarily on the actual demonstration of the competency

(iv) occupational standards or unit competency standards should be used as the basis for assessing achievement and students/trainees should be aware of them

(v) Students progress through the programme by demonstrating the attainment of specified competencies


Competency-based Education (CBE) is an approach to teaching, learning and assessment which focuses on learners demonstrating the knowledge, skills and attitudes in highly specific units regardless of time, place, or pace of learning, usually in authentic contexts.

COL, Open and distance learning: key terms and definitions, 2015 (revised 2020)

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